Element Power US, LLC, a renewable energy company headquartered in Portland, received a conditional use permit this week to build an approximately 12 megawatt solar photovoltaic facility on leased lands in Christmas Valley.
The Lake County Planning Commission’s 5-1 vote in favor of the project on Tuesday night makes it the largest solar energy project ever permitted in the state – capable of producing enough clean energy to power more than 6,000 homes.
With an average of only 9 inches of rain per year, Christmas Valley boasts the best solar resource in the Pacific Northwest, according to Element Power. The company worked with nearby property owners to create a project that optimizes the excellent renewable energy potential of the area while minimizing any potential environmental impacts. The company chose a site over 11 miles from the community of Christmas Valley with existing infrastructure, including high voltage transmission lines and access roads, with the goal of minimizing impact and building a project with community support.
The facility will contribute toward the Pacific Northwest’s Renewable Portfolio Standard programs, which direct utilities to meet a percentage of their retail electricity needs with qualified renewable resources.
Started in 2008, Element Power has quickly become a global leader in renewable energy, with operations in the US, Europe, and South America. In the United States alone, Element has over 6,000 MW of wind energy and 1,000 MW of solar energy under development.
“This project is an important part of our overall renewable energy project portfolio,” said Chris Taylor, Chief Development Officer of Element Power. “Our team has deep roots in Oregon and we are pleased to be part of the rapidly growing solar energy market here.”